On June 2016, Bloomberg reported that ten “mayors from New York to Paris to Seoul (…) are jointly preparing a unified rule book in a bid to leverage their combined size to promote clearer ground rules” on Uber and Airbnb. A spokesman for New York Mayor commented that “having the 20 or 30 biggest urban markets of the world all operating under entirely different rules doesn’t do much good for anyone. We want consumers and tourists to have some consistency, city to city”. It is unprecedented that cities in different continents promote convergent regulatory change to tackle urban policy challenges. Uber and Airbnb are the paramount examples of truly global companies that act at the local level, seeing each city as a unique market. In fact, these global digital platforms are regulated by macro-level legislation, but the services they facilitate – city transportation and accommodation – are mostly regulated at the sub-national level. As disruptive players – challenging at a large scale established legal and economic concepts of taxi ride and hotel night - these companies have forced regulators, policy makers and legislators to adapt quickly to new forms of business. But, unlike other global digital businesses such as Twitter or Google, for Uber and Airbnb, the regulatory pushback is happening mostly at the local level and in an increasingly coordinated way among cities from different continents and distant legal cultures.
The Laws of the City
2 ECTs / 12 / English